Nurse-Patient Communication and Patient Safety


Nurse-patient communication has become an issue of concern in modern clinical facilities. Effective communication promotes the exchange of information and ideas amongst healthcare professionals and patients. This situation eases the understanding of diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases. This essay elaborates on nurse-patient communication, interdisciplinary communication, and patient safety in healthcare settings.

The Seven Principles of Patient-Clinician Communication and their Applications

Mutual Respect

According to Stewart et al. (1999), mutual respect refers to an affirmative sense of esteem that exists amongst nurses and patients. In such cases, each party has to understand one another’s viewpoints about certain issues that pertain to communication. Mutual respect is paramount to the maintenance of the dignities of the parties (Stewart et al., 1999).

Harmonized Goals

After the development of mutual trust between the parties, a common goal is realized. Both the nurse and patient should reach a harmonized level of agreement on the plan and model of care that is to be executed. The nurse should explain various risks that are involved, cost of care processes, benefits, and expectations to the patient (Stewart et al., 1999).

A Supportive Environment

An environment that is supportive to both the nurse and patient ensures the delivery of quality services. The caring nurse possesses types of services that are based on patient preferences, culture, skills, cost of service, and implementation of communication procedures (Stewart et al., 1999).

Appropriate Decision Partners

Various partners who are charged with patient care such as nurses, family members, and/or guardians should ensure a proper flow of communication through the formulation of pertinent channels. Various nurses who are available in the hospital setup must be aware of the patients’ problems. Simple and relevant communication channels to convey information must be accessible to all parties that are involved (Stewart et al., 1999).

The Right Information

Information that pertains to the welfare of the patients should be supported with evidence of benefits, involved risks, feasible costs, and values among other options. All stakeholders are expected to provide correct opinions in relation to the available evidences that are presented by the nurses (Stewart et al., 1999).

Transparency and Full Disclosure

Nurses should ensure transparency and full disclosure of information about evidences of the patients’ conditions. They should also identify various limitations of the proof that are likely to emerge during service delivery (Stewart et al., 1999).

Continuous Learning

Stewart et al. (1999) posit that proper and continuous communication promotes a smooth flow of information where both patients and nurses benefit from evidence-based practice solutions. Learning through constant care and feedback ensures patient and clinician alertness (Stewart et al., 1999).

Three Methods used in Improving Interdisciplinary Communication

Communication plays a critical role in improving efforts towards the accomplishment of goals in health sectors (Winowiecki et al., 2011). Three methods are applied to promote interdisciplinary communication amongst nurses and patients. At the outset, there should be scheduled discharge rounds. In most cases, the nurses together with other team members discuss the progress of a patient. Various care methods that improve the condition of the patient should be encouraged through communication, especially during discharge rounds (Winowiecki et al., 2011). Secondly, interdisciplinary communication can be improved through the inclusion of hospitalists. Winowiecki et al. (2011) define hospitalists as practitioners who frequently monitor the needs of the patients by ensuring proper communication with the nurses in charge. Lastly, technology plays a pivotal role in the improvement of interdisciplinary communication in healthcare settings. Computerized document systems boost the availability of information to other experts; hence, they can observe the progress of the patient. However, effective discharge rounds are best suited to my area of practice. Patients and nurses interact and share information on a number of appropriate means, which should be followed during administration of services (Winowiecki et al., 2011).

Ethical Principles that can be Applied to Issue in Patient-Clinician Communication

Most nurses conduct effective communication with patients based on their professional duties, obligations, character, and self-attributes (Stewart, 1995). Various principles underlie patient-nurse communication. At the outset, clinicians must ensure confidentiality and privacy of any information that pertains to the patients. In addition, clinicians should maintain a high degree of honesty by providing the exact information about the condition of the patient (Stewart, 1995). Another ethical principle is advocacy for the patient’s best interest in an attempt to ensure health promotion (Asnani, 2009).

Importance of Ethics in Communication and how Patient Safety is influenced by Communication

At the outset, communication ethics play a crucial role in improvement of diagnosis and service delivery to patients. It also ensures treatment adherence by the patient. Furthermore, it promotes patient safety because transparency is heightened (Asnani, 2009).

How Safety is influenced by Communication

Nurses in charge maintain proper communication with a view of promoting safety and reducing errors that occur in the hospital due to factors such as incompetency (Asnani, 2009). Good communication encourages teamwork; hence, it leads to improvement of service quality. A clear communication channel ensures that a safer hospital environment is set up through avoidance of various nurse malpractices.


Communication is paramount to the recovery if the patient. It ensures delivery of quality healthcare services. Therefore, effective nurse-patient communication should be established in healthcare institutions to ensure apt decisions that promote diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases.

Reference List

Asnani, M. (2009). Patient-physician communication. West Indian Med Journal, 58(4) 357-61.

Stewart, M. (1995). Effective physician-patient communication and health outcomes: A review. CMAJ, 152(9), 1423-33.

Stewart, M., Brown, H., Boon, J., Galajda, L., Meredith, L., & Sangster, M. (1999). Evidence on patient-doctor communication. Cancer Prevention and Control, 3(1), 25-30.

Winowiecki, L., Smukler, S., Shirley, K., Remans, R., Peltier, G., Lothes, E.,…& Alkema, L. (2011). Tools for enhancing interdisciplinary communication. Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy, 7(1):74-80.

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